The Common Problem Of Which No One Speaks
Just about half of all female adults suffer from it, but only a handful of them seek treatment. Urologist Virgilio Centernera, of Carlisle, PA says it's all about misunderstandings that have sprung up on the topic of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence (UI) is the term used to describe involuntary urine leakage. The problem is very treatable, but most people don't have any idea that there are helpful treatment options and so they accept it as yet another indignity of age that must be borne. "My pet peeve is seeing erectile dysfunction getting a lot of play and everyone knows what Viagra is, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any medication for incontinence," says Centenera who explains that there are just as many people suffering from UI as there are those suffering from ED, but UI affects people as they go about their daily business.
Another Carlisle urologist, Andrew Dussinger says that most women just chalk up UI to the normal aging process. "[Incontinence] is poorly reported for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes people are just too embarrassed to bring it up," says Dussinger.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) along with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) state that the cost of caring for those with UI comes to some $11.2 billion within communities and $5.2 billion for those in nursing homes. A great portion of this expense money is used for management only, and pays for pads and diapers rather than treatment. That's a pity, since physicians say that treatment helps just about every case of UI.
That's why Dussinger, Centenera, and Lauren Winn, a gynecologist, decided to open the Advantage Bladder Control Center. The Center is located in the same building where the two urologists have their practice and focuses on the treatment of UI rather than just offering management advice. At the center, patients can get tested, have minimally invasive treatments, or even robotic surgery. They will also receive the full benefit of the combined experience of physicians and therapists from several disciplines including urology, gynecology, and physiotherapy. All this makes the center unique and the first of its kind in the United States.
Advantage Bladder Control Center will focus solely on women since they are more prone to UI. Centenera explains that a woman's urethra is smaller, making it more vulnerable to stress incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine that occurs when a person sneezes, coughs, or lifts a heavy item. Other types of UI are urge incontinence, in which a person feels a strong urge to urinate and finds it difficult to make it to the bathroom in time to urinate, and overflow incontinence, in which a person urinates often but only a small amount of urine will be excreted.
"We think that childbirth and other pressure on the pelvic floor has an effect," says gynecologist Winn. "Incontinence may be more likely in women who have chronic respiratory problems, women that are constipated or who put a lot of strain on that region by lifting objects."